Royal weddings, Ashes tours of Australia and the cold, wet weather – now is the time to feel British, and what is more British than coasting the UK’s roads in the best of British built car?
Over the years the few British car makers have struggled. Rover has disappeared, Mini was bought out by BMW and even Jaguar and Land Rover, those quintessentially British brands, have been bought out by Indian manufacturer Tata Motors.
Although sad, it is not necessarily a bad thing. Tata has supported the British-based workforce of both manufacturers and promised both Jaguar Midlands facilities will remain open, as well as the two Land Rover plants.
Several manufacturers build cars and vans in the UK, and some use the UK for parts of engines. With the quality of cars currently built in the UK, it is now easier than ever to buy a good quality, affordable British-built car.
From small cars to large SUVS, there’s a British-built car for everyone – none more so than the Astra family hatchback and ST (or estate) models.
The Astra is a perennial favourite with UK buyers, regularly finishing in the top three-selling models.
Vauxhall’s attempts to overthrow the Ford Focus has led to an improved chassis (known as FlexRide) to improve performance and driving dynamics.
The huge leap in quality both inside and out is testament to the UK workforce at the Cheshire plant, a facility described as ‘world class’ by CEO Nick Reilly this year.
Alloy wheels, air conditioning, daytime running lights, electric park brake and a host of safety equipment all comes in the entry level model, which starts from just £14,000.
Several other specifications ramp up equipment levels, meaning there’s an Astra for everybody. There’s also a choice of petrol or diesel engines – but we’d recommend the ecoFLEX diesels with emissions as low as 109g/km.
Cheap, well-built and packed full of equipment. The Astra really is the best of British.
The Vauxhall Astra can be bought new and used from Perrys Motors here|
Click here to book a test drive in a Vauxhall Astra |
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Land Rover Freelander 2
All Land Rover models are built in the UK, split between the Halewood plant on Merseyside and the Solihull plant in Birmingham.
We’ve decided to focus on the Freelander 2. Not only is the rugged 4×4 the best-selling UK model, it is also bridges the gap between workhorse, capable off-roaders and luxurious cruisers.
It also looks fantastic and handles surprisingly well on UK roads. It is quite simply the best SUV on the market, and the 2.2-litre diesel offers startstop technology to improve fuel economy and bring CO2 levels down to a more manageable level.
Equipment levels in all four trims are exceptional and even entry level models blow other SUVs out of the water.
Standard equipment includes Land Rover’s Terrain Response system to make off-roading a doddle, climate control, alloy wheels and an optional extra sound system.
It is also more affordable than several other Land Rover cars, starting from just £21,695 for models in the S specification.
Of, course if you’re looking for something a bit more luxurious the Range Rover Sport or larger Range Rover are the height of premium SUV driving.
There’s also the workhorse Defender – ideal for country dwellers – and the popular Discovery 4 built in Land Rover’s UK factories.
The Land Rover Freelander 2 can be bought new and used from Perrys Motors here |
Click here to book a test drive in a Vauxhall Astra |
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The Jaguar XK is a wonderfully stylish coupe which, it can be argued, pulled an ailing brand through a tough patch, reinvigorating it and sparking a new era of superb cars for the Big Cat.
The superbly styled grand tourer is just stunning to look at, and underneath the shapely exterior lies performance to match. The 4.2-litre V8 can eke out 62mph in 5.9 seconds (five seconds flat for the convertible) and can hit 155mph.
It’s also more comfortable and luxurious than other grand tourers on the market – a nod to its elegant British roots.
It doesn’t come cheap, but still comes in at a price well below the likes of Porsche and Aston Martin despite being able to match them in nearly every area.
It may essentially be a two seater because of lack of space, but drivers of this British-built stunner won’t care a jot when those engines rumble into life.
The Jaguar XK was followed by the XF saloon and impressive XJ coupe, both of which have earned rave reviews since their respective release.
All Jaguar models are built in the UK, and parent company Tata Motors has confirmed this will be an ongoing arrangement after confirming a u-turn on the expected closure of the Castle Bromwich plant.
The Jaguar XK can be bought new and used from Perrys Motors here |
Click here to book a test drive in a Jaguar XK |
More on Jaguar models.
Ford does not produce any cars in the UK, but there are plenty of Ford facilities scattered across it.
The world-famous Transit van is currently built in Southampton. So famous is the Transit name, it has actually been acknowledged as a word for ‘van’ in some languages.
For decades the Transit van has proved to be a reliable, versatile and competent help to British industry and the ‘White Van Man’ remains a common sight on roads up and down the UK.
Ford also produces its highly efficient and clean EcoBoost petrol engines in its Dagenham facility.
These engines help to lower CO2 emissions – and subsequently road tax – in petrol Ford models while maintaining performance and often even improving on the performance of outgoing models.
The Ford Transit van can be bought new and used from Perrys Motors here |
Click here to book a test drive in a Ford Transit van |
More on Ford models.